Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Miscellaneous news

Children MUST wear helmets when crossing the road (see below)

It’s a sin: “cyclists weaving their way through traffic.”

Meanwhile, in a vicious trick designed for no other purpose than to steal from innocent road-tax-paying drivers Camden Council has put up signs on one road which read:

No motor vehicles between 07:00 - 10:00 and 15:00 - 19:00 except bank holidays.

This is totally baffling and you would need to be Einstein to understand it. Yes, shockingly,

Motorists have been fined a staggering £5 million for driving down a quiet residential street which has been dubbed ‘Britain’s most baffling road’.

You like zee statistics?

Brake said that in 2009 cyclists made up just 0.5% of traffic but accounted for 5% of road deaths and 11% of serious injuries.

It added that while road casualties overall had decreased, cyclist deaths and injuries had not.

Road safety. A cycling Nottingham University professor is encouraging all cyclists to wear helmets and high visibility clothing


A cyclist who was able to walk away from a head-on collision with a car is urging other bike riders to wear a helmet.

More road safety tips. This initiative demonstrates how children should cross the road: heavily supervised by adults; wearing crash helmets; carrying hi-viz signals; and tied to each other.

A pensioner driving a sports car mounted a pavement and slammed into a group of pedestrians killing a three year old child. The driver was arrested.


THE driver of a people carrier that hit and fatally injured an elderly pedestrian told an inquest she did not see him at all before the impact. Great-grandfather Leslie Young, 86, of Fitzpaine Road, had sustained multiple injuries, including fractures to his skull. He later died in hospital.

He had been at the back of his parked Vauxhall Cavalier. The Chrysler then collided with the rear offside of the Vauxhall, pushing it into the back of a parked Renault Laguna.

District coroner Sheriff Payne noted that there were no direct witnesses and recorded the verdict that Mr Young’s death was due to an accident.

War on the motorist news. A “Traffic reform campaigner” has been cruelly persecuted: I wasn't doing 91 mph all the time, just to avoid delay down the other side of the hill..

Shock horror – some council car parking ticket machines don’t give change - huge frothing in the Torigraph (This is absolutely outrageous).

The only speed camera on the southbound M11 is a cruel trick, impartially described in the Daily Mail as “infamous” for its success in catching out innocent drivers who can’t see a series of signs bearing the message 50 mph and SPEED CAMERA AHEAD, followed by a bright yellow object half a mile ahead on a straight road.

Britain’s poisonously car-centric cyclist-hating Department for Transport is exposed as trying to block a European ban on oil derived from the carbon-heavy tar sands of Canada.

By the way, the planet is fucked.

Greenpeace says “It will now be up to us to stop them.”

‘Green Olympics’ news

Amazing. Can this really be true?

Bikes are banned from the Olympic park - for what TfL calls "security reasons" - and Boris bikes will also be kept out. Which all seems to contradict the aim of getting 100 per cent of spectators to venues by walking, cycling or public transport.

Meanwhile, other Olympic news. It had somehow escaped this blog’s attention that the Green Olympics has six Sustainability Partners. And when you look at who they are, obviously the first things you’ll think of are their passion for sustainability and the environment.

Step forward a leading corporation with a long environmental track record, which is passionate about being involved in the Olympics so that it has a chance to inspire the billions of people who will watch the Games to think about the mobility choices they make every day.

And when you are thinking about sustainable travel choices, step forward Green Olympics Sustainability Partner number two, which is one that has a long history of dedication to competitive sport.

Vroom! Vroom!


Four in ten of London's men are overweight and a quarter of its women. Seventeen percent of London's men, and one fifth of its women and its ten and eleven year-olds are officially obese.

Sunday, 29 May 2011


Truro Road, Walthamstow

Driver was using TWO mobile phones

A motorist has been arrested after he was allegedly spotted driving along a dual-carriageway while using two mobile phones and steering with his knees.

Officers who stopped him said that they first noticed he had a phone to his ear.

But when they looked again they discovered he was using his other hand to text on a second phone

The driver, a 34-year-old Norfolk man who has not been named, is to appear before magistrates accused of driving without due care and attention.

‘3 feet please’ farce

A state law that's supposed to give bicyclists some breathing room on the road has gotten little attention from law enforcement.

Five years after the state first required motorists to give cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing them on the road, only a few hundred drivers have been cited for the offense.

It's made cyclists wonder about the law's effectiveness. Many complain about lack of enforcement and awareness among the driving public. Others consider the law pointless, noting that it's difficult to enforce and that a 3-foot gap may not be enough in many cases.

47,000 American pedestrians killed in ‘accidents’ (now go back to sleep)

A new report examining the number of pedestrian deaths over the last decade suggests that many American cities, including San Antonio, remain dangerous places for people who travel on foot.

The study “Dangerous by Design,” released this week by the Washington D.C.-based coalition Transportation for America, ranks San Antonio as the 24th most dangerous city for pedestrians, compared with 51 other cities and metropolitan areas.

More than 47,000 pedestrians were killed in the United States between 2000 and 2009, according to the study, and more than 688,000 were injured.

dangerous cycling in Toronto

Toronto’s streets are the most dangerous in the country to cycle or walk, according to a new study.

A report released Thursday by the city’s Traffic Safety Unit revealed Toronto had the highest rate of vehicles colliding with cyclists and pedestrians in the first nine months of last year.

For every 100,000 people, there were 42 vehicle-bike crashes in Toronto

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Cycling infrastructure: the context of a photograph

This photograph is used to illustrate a discussion on the topic: What is the best way to provide a highway network for cyclists that is safe, convenient and attractive? There’s reference to a publication entitled Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure. My interpretation of this photograph is that it is used to illustrate desirable cycling infrastructure. Best practice. But decide on that for yourself: this photograph can be found here.

The CTC pic, taken some years ago, shows a solitary cyclist at an unidentified location. It is actually Foss Bank in York, looking south-east towards the junction with Layerthorpe. The location is outside the ancient city walls but still close to the heart of the sprawl that is modern day York. Foss Bank is a two-lane one-way highway which forms part of a gyratory which is itself part of York’s inner ring road system. The York inner ring road is designed to smooth traffic flow; at many locations including the one shown in this photograph pedestrians have to wait a long time to cross to the traditional cattle pen on an island, where they have to wait again for a second phase to cross the rest of the road. (York City Council claims that its traffic planning puts pedestrians first and cyclists second, with car drivers last in the hierarchy; this is bullshit on an epic scale.)

The cyclist in the CTC photo is in this cycle lane which you need to get into to turn right at the junction (into Peasholme Green).

This is where the cycle lane starts, in the centre of the carriageway. To get to it cyclists have to cut across one lane of traffic and position themselves in front of a second lane of traffic. The cycle lane markings are severely faded and not very obvious.

This is the context before you get to that cycle lane. Foss Bank is a race track with an advisory cycle lane. The speed limit is nominally 30 mph but it is hard to believe many drivers are keeping to it. On the bend, many drivers stray into the cycle lane.

(Below) ‘END’ The cycle lane fizzles out a few hundred metres further on. Just where the road lay-out starts to get complicated – the one shown in the CTC pic.

If instead you are cycling straight on or turning left at the impending junction you have the opportunity to use a short stretch of fabulous off-road cycle path (below). It can be seen on the left in the CTC pic, where traffic conditions are lighter than how I experienced them.

The CTC photo was taken from the top of the multi-storey car park on the right of the car parking sign (below). Just across the road from the Avis car rental centre. What you might call a car-sodden context.

You can compare it to mine, taken from more or less the same spot on top of the multi-storey car park. The trees have grown up since the CTC original.

No cyclists appear in any of my photographs. That’s not because I chose to omit them. There just weren’t any. Why, it’s almost as if cycling infrastructure like this deterred people from cycling.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

It’s common sense!

A new survey by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), a body highly regarded for its continual push for better driving standards, says 70% of UK drivers want the national speed limit increased from 70 to 80mph.

Common sense in action here, and nothing less than we would expect from the IAM.

The IAM has also had the good fortune to be able to draw on the expertise of a leading figure in UK cycle campaigning for some common sense advice for cyclists.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

John Franklin: a footnote

The John Franklin who figured in the news report in the previous post below is, of course, the same John Franklin who is a very big cheese in CycleNation and a revered figure in the world of British cycle campaigning (see his many contributions here, for example).

Last year, Stroud District Council commissioned him to produce a report, assessing the options for encouraging cycling in the District.

Here’s an example of how Franklin’s principles translate into the real world.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Crap cycling in Cheltenham

MP AND keen cyclist Martin Horwood has hit out at "rubbish" cycle routes around Cheltenham.

He said areas which are for use by cyclists should be paved differently and separated from the road by a kerb instead of being marked by paint.

He said: "I would like to start building the core of a real cycle network across Cheltenham and abolish the pointless collection of painted lines that everyone ignores.


John Franklin, treasurer of Cheltenham Cycle Campaign, said the town was better for cycling than Gloucester where people have to navigate ring roads and fast-moving traffic.

But he admitted there were problems in Lansdown Road and other areas.

"There are a number of places where improvements are needed, " he said. Mr Franklin said the cycling network could be better if the county council had extra money to spend.

He said: "Cyclists don't want cycle routes. The best thing is the general road network which should be made more suitable."

Motorist Matt Fenn, who runs Cheltenham Courier, said Mr Horwood's idea of having separate, dedicated cycle lanes would not work in practice. He said: "The way Cheltenham is set up it would be impossible to have extra lanes, especially in the town centre.

"The roads are just not wide enough.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Crap cycling in Redbridge

REDBRIDGE Council has been awarded £385,500 to promote cycling and help people cycle safely in the borough.

The TfL money will be used to build cycle lanes, improve bicycle parking facilities and promote cycling as an environmentally friendly mode of transport.

Thousands will be spent on creating a 'cycling hub' by improving routes in the Snaresbrook and South Woodford areas, particularly in George Lane and nearby streets.

The council hope the money will help them meet their target of increasing the number of people cycling in Redbridge from its current 1 per cent level to 1.5 percent by 2013.

Does this mean that Redbridge is already scaling back its cycling targets? The 2011 Redbridge LIP commits the council to a cycling modal share of

2 per cent by 2012

3 per cent by 2013

But perhaps halving the target is sensible. There’s no point in being over-ambitious, is there?

The likelihood of Redbridge seeing a surge in cycling is underlined by this commitment:

Local Cycle and Walking Infrastructure

The Borough will provide safe and attractive walking and cycling infrastructure on its identified Corridors and Neighbourhoods to provide the facilities required at the start and end of local journeys to make these modes more attractive to use.
• We have land use policies and development control guidance within our Local Development Framework (Core Strategy) that support and encourage sustainable modes including minimum cycle parking provision at all new developments.
• The Borough regularly produces and updates walking and cycling maps to empower local people to enjoy the Borough’s abundant open spaces and parks to promote the health benefits of these travel modes. These maps are developed in different media to enable them to be used flexibly by different users in formats they can manipulate.
• The Borough will be introducing Electric Vehicle Charging points as part of the London pilot scheme in several of its car parks and high streets as well as through the planning process in new developments. If this pilot scheme is successful it may be rolled out further subject to available resources and priorities.

The provision of Electric Vehicle Charging points plays a key role in persuading more people to cycle, and it is a shame that Redbridge Council is one of the very few local authorities to realise this. Simply drive your electric car to your local shopping centre, unfold your Brompton, pedal around for eight hours while your car is recharging, and then drive home. Result: planet saved.

Redbridge was given some lovely dosh in its new incarnation as a ‘biking borough’ and

used the funding to carry out a study how best to achieve the Mayor's target of 5% mode share through behavioural change initiatives.

Exactly. Some people might be deterred to from taking up cycling when this is the kind of environment cyclists may encounter in Redbridge. This is why we need to change their behaviour and give them encouragement.

(Below) The North Circular Road as it passes through Redbridge. It is depressing to see so few cyclists taking advantage of ‘the right to ride’ on this road, which has very clear sight lines. These scaredy-cats need some cycle training to stiffen their rubbery backbones.

(Below) A Redbridge off-road cycling and walking underpass. This is a must for fans of J.G. Ballard. (A crucifix and garlic are advisable as fourteen of the sixteen lighting panels are not working and you never know what you might disturb in the darkness.)

(Below) Permeability, Redbridge-style. Unsigned routes like these are huge fun because you never know where you’ll end up – or who you might meet on the way!

(Below) A handlebar action shot. Yes, cyclists can really enjoy ‘life in the fast lane’ in Redbridge. Much more fun than Nemesis Inferno.

(Below) And please, no crazy suggestions for Dutch cycle paths in Redbridge. Because like everywhere else in London, there just isn’t the space.

Did the world come to an end?

Or is this simply the new Tracey Emin artwork? Yesterday in central Walthamstow.

And, hey, don't forget - as Waltham Forest Council has spent lots of money pointing out

News round-up

Don’t miss this excellent critique of allowing speeding motorists to conduct a war against everyone else. Plus the curious case of the man who became unusually addicted to the values of Top Gear: "I'm not sick and I don't want to hurt anyone, cars are just my preference." Yeah, right…

And just in case you missed it, there’s Dave Hill’s account of the Blackfriars Bridge protest with an interview with two top cycling bloggers. There are some good comments underneath, too.

2011 seems to be turning into a very bad year – these are reports of the two latest cyclist fatalities, here and here

Lastly, for a good example of how backward and uncivilised our car-centric society is, consider this example of how speeding drivers and motor vehicles are allowed to take precedence over the safety of children and pedestrians on a street by a park and two schools.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Cycling to the Olympics?

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has anticipated that a third of Londoners will have to change their usual travel arrangements when the running, jumping, swimming and shooting are at their peak and each day perhaps half a million visitors will be travelling to various venues in the metropolis.
Transport for London has anticipated roughly "100 continuous days of extraordinary operation".

So there are two ways of looking at this. Everything will run smoothly under the highly professional management of Transport for London. Or there will be spectacular chaos on the tubes, trains, buses and roads. As we know, the London Underground functioned as it should, with no problems on any of its lines, for, er, just one day last year.

Should you err on the side of pessimism, a bicycle is probably a very good place to be during those one hundred days.

As we know there just isn’t space in London for cycle paths and all the rest of the infrastructure they enjoy in the Netherlands. But happily space has been found for

exclusive Olympic lanes on Euston Road and Southampton Row

and lots of other roads.

The "Games lanes" reserved for competitors and other members of the "Games family" that will be white-painted on one quarter of the network will greatly limit the amount of road space available for everyone else.

Goodness. That sounds like it might create the odd spot of traffic congestion.

Interestingly, if you look at what this privileged separate infrastructure is being created for it amounts to just

5,407 vehicles (4,112 cars and 1,295 buses and coaches)

If you look at who will be enjoying this limo lifestyle on Soviet-style private lanes for the elite, it turns out that the biggest single group will not be athletes, administrators or journalists but

25,000 marketing partners

51 pedestrian crossings in London are being removed so as not to inconvenience these important people.

Jo Londoner, meanwhile, will be stuck in a traffic jam, which means people on buses as well as in cars.

Ironically, it now emerges that the Olympic Route Network

could have a detrimental impact on air quality. Following the publication of the ODA’s revised Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Olympic Transport Plan, it has been reported that 2012 related traffic could result in the UK being fined up to £300 million by European authorities for breaching air quality standards. The publication of the Assessment follows a recommendation from the Assembly’s Environment Committee. In December 2010, it highlighted issues about the potential adverse impact on air quality of Games-related traffic

Bloody marvellous.

But wait!

More walking and cycling could be encouraged in various ways. Sustrans has suggested holding large-scale led walks and rides along the new 2012 routes similar to the Mayor’s Skyride events. It also suggests more publicity; 2012 sponsors or famous people should be shown walking and cycling to promote these modes to spectators.

I think it would be a marvellous idea if we paid David Beckham five million pounds to walk half a mile. That would be sure to get people out of their cars. With a similar sum going to Pippa Middelton to ride a bicycle for one hundred metres. Because, after all, cyclists don’t need infrastructure. They just need encouragement.

The ODA has reported that it wants “to try to tap into the four million people who live within 40 minutes push bike distance of a competition venue.”
If it succeeded that would be unfortunate, however, since

It reported that the ODA’s prediction of 3,455 cyclists per day at the Olympic Park is 50 per cent greater than the number of cycle parking spaces at the two malls at the Park (2,200).
But not to worry – Transport for London has come to the rescue:

a total of 7,000 cycle parking spaces will be provided at this venue over three sites (the northern spectator mall, the southern spectator mall and Victoria Park). TfL suggests this should be sufficient to meet demand.

Victoria Park? But that’s not in the Olympic Village. It’s the other side of the river, in ’orrible ’ackney. A bit of a walk to the Olympic Venue. Not, in my view, a very attractive location for bike parking, and a bloody nerve in the light of the Olympic Village’s substantial car park.

The provision of more way marking to encourage spectators to walk may also be useful. In its report ‘Walk this Way’ (October 2010), the Transport Committee highlighted the expansion of TfL’s on-street signage and mapping system, Legible London, as one of a number of actions that could be taken to encourage people to make more journeys by foot.

Who dreams up this kind of crap? Obviously not anyone who ever does any walking in London.

But someone is out there is a realist. Forget all the eco-fluff and the PR handouts. When it comes down to it

just five per cent of spectators at the Olympic Park are forecast to walk or cycle [to it]

Which in itself may well turn out to be a wild over-estimate

For example, everyone in Leytonstone, Leyton and Walthamstow lives within 40 minutes cycling distance of the Olympics, but with a modal share of less than one per cent very few local residents with tickets are likely to cycle to the Olympics.

It becomes even less likely when you take a look at the much-hyped Olympic cycle routes. It’s not just infrastructure like this which is perfunctory and pathetic.

The other day I came across a completed section of the Epping Forest Olympic cycle route as it passes through Waltham Forest - Epping Forest – a new route from the north-east of the Olympic Park through Wanstead and Epping Forest.
Rather strangely, Epping Forest Council advises residents to take a completely different route altogether:

Cycle routes are also being developed so that residents from the area will be able to cycle through the heart of the Lee Valley down to the Olympic Park.

But the official Epping Forest Olympic Cycle Route doesn’t go anywhere near the Lea Valley, until at the very end when you finally arrive at the Olympic Village. (Crikey, I hope no one is going to suggest that Olympic cycle routes are a load of crap cobbled together by car-centric planners who never go near a bicycle and don’t even seem to have a basic grasp of the geography of their own area.)

I am still trying to make sense out of this bizarre section of cycle path. This is where the Epping Forest Olympic Cycle Route crosses the border from Redbridge into Waltham Forest (the green sign with the coat of arms marks the entry into glorious Waltham Forest).

(Below) The idea seems to be that if you were returning to Epping from the Olympic site you would come along the lethal A114 (Bush Road) and take a left turn into Bushwood E11, then execute a sharp right turn onto the traffic island, where you wait to cross the other arm of Bushwood. (Any driver behind you may well collide with you, since they won’t be expecting this manoeuvre.)

(Below) You then cross Bushwood and join the off-road cycle path running parallel to Bush Road. You could have avoided this pointless diversion if there was a dropped kerb beyond the traffic island permitting access from Bush Road, but there isn’t one. The planners are determined you will make this futile, time-wasting diversion. After a few metres you encounter… a bus stop.

(Below) A little further on the cycle path terminates at a signalled crossing, with a sign post conveniently located in the centre of one cycle path. Cyclists heading for High Road Leytonstone will obviously be tempted to continue riding (illegally) on the pavement rather than rejoin the carriageway. The crossing takes you to the Green Man roundabout. After that it seems you have to go along Whipps Cross Road and then up Woodford New Road. Which is fine if you have strong nerves and the right prescription. You will then be obliged to go into the Waterworks roundabout underpass labyrinth, where the chances are you will probably encounter at least one scampering rat.

(Below) Looking back towards Redbridge. Please don’t get the idea that you could build a network of off-road cycle paths on land like this, because it forms part of the eviscerated remains of Epping Forest and is under the control of the Corporation of London, which has made it perfectly clear that it doesn’t want cyclists on its land. By definition, the Epping Forest Olympic Cycle Route will not intrude on Epping Forest.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Blackfriars Bridge cycling protest tomorrow

The London Cycling Campaign is organising a protest against Transport for London’s car-centric design for Blackfriars Bridge.

Meet on the bridge on the south side by the Dogget’s pub at 08.30 am for a mass ride across the bridge to the City

This protest is getting some welcome publicity.

More from Danny here

Another London cyclist killed

A 13-year-old boy died who after being struck by a car in Dagenham has been named locally as Thomas Stone.

The accident happened in Bell Farm Avenue at around 7.45pm, according to police and the London Ambulance Service (LAS).

Friends told the Post that Thomas, of Gay Gardens, had been riding his bike when the incident happened.

It was apparently a hit and run killing:

The driver of the blue coloured Toyota Celica, a 20-year-old woman, left the scene but later returned. She was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and taken into custody at an East London police station.

A believed passenger in the vehicle, a 36-year-old man,
was also arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and also taken into custody at an East London police station.

It is a bitter irony that this fatality coincides with the latest smiley-smiley propaganda from Transport for London and the Mayor’s office.

New figures released by Transport for London and City Hall show that last year the capital's roads were the safest since casualty records began in the 1970s with the total number of people killed dipping below 150 for the first time.

To me that statement is a classic instance of what, in another context, has been identified as misleading measures of safety on the road and conniving with careless and dangerous driving, since most of the danger on the road is due to behaviour which is mainstream driving behaviour.

Another impressive student of ‘road safety’ is Olaf Storbeck, who calculates that so far this year eleven cyclists have died on London roads, which means last year’s total of ten dead cyclists has already been exceeded. Mr Storbeck calculates that the number of London cyclists killed since 2000 is 186.

Prophetically, he asked several weeks ago:

Will 2011 become a black year for cyclists in London?

Since 1986 the number of cyclists killed in London per year varies massively. On average, from 1986 to 2010 , 17.2 cyclists died per year.

The spin put on the 2010 statistics by Transport for London was designed to obscure an aspect highlighted by the Evening Standard:

The total number of children injured on London's roads has risen since Boris Johnson cut funding for road safety, it emerged today.

A total of 150 more youngsters were injured on the capital's roads last year - a 14 per cent jump.

In 2008-09, the year the Mayor took office, TfL's road safety spending stood at £58.8m, of which £30.3m went to the boroughs.

But the most recent figures show that in 2010-11 just £24.5m has been allocated, £9.7m of which will go to town hall programmes.

Lambeth in South London came under fire earlier this year for scrapping 30 lollipop patrol posts in a bid to save £150,000.

According to TfL figures, there were 2,064 children injured on the capital's roads in 2008. By 2010 this had risen to 2,134.

Interpreting casualty figures and using them as a measure of ‘road safety’ is a very contentious and often ideologically-driven affair.

Meanwhile let’s have a report on London’s safer-than-ever roads from Dalston Junction:

The current situation at Dalston Junction in London highlights a lamentable state of affairs. It is for me one of the most dangerous locations in London, for anybody - motorist, cyclist, pedestrian - and given recent tragic events I am aghast at the continuing rank indifference of the various agencies responsible for the transport network.

I was there again today and asked a 'banksman' why, as a pavement had been closed, and so many pedestrians were hazardously crossing through and in between heavy traffic, a proper (if only temporary) pedestrian crossing had not been provided. "Too expensive" was his reply.
So pedestrians deprived of a footpath are crossing in between heavy traffic through which cyclists are also travelling on a highway narrowed substantially by building works. The tragic irony of this indifference is, this is a transport hub.

Julian also inadvertently filmed an impatient taxi driver forcing his way through the Tweed Run

(Below) Apparently no one was hurt in this Walthamstow crash not far from a local primary school. So it’s not recorded in the statistics used to define ‘road safety’. This helps to prove that London’s roads are getting safer all the time.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Cycling on the pavement

Erin Gill cycles on the pavement:

It may be an unpalatable truth for some, but there are reasons why cyclists opt for the pavement.

One of these reasons is

irrationally designed road traffic systems that keep us from riding directly toward our destinations. Chief among these are archaic one-way systems.

I don’t myself think this planning is irrational. It’s perfectly rational if you believe that maintaining motor vehicle flow is the most important priority when planning personal mobility in a dense urban area. The problem with Transport for London is that it is not remotely interested in discouraging car dependency. That said, I agree with the thrust of Erin’s article. Cycling on the pavement is symptomatic of individuals responding to a transport infrastructure which systematically marginalises the convenience and safety of cyclists and puts motor vehicle flow first. One-way streets and gyratories are a very visible expression of this.

The Vauxhall Gyratory supplies one glaring example.

Apparently removing the gyratory isn't a goer as it would require a 36% reduction in motor traffic in the morning forcing motorists to reconsider their mode of transport.

For a brilliant critical analysis of how Transport for London designs its streets, in the context of just one local example, you can’t do better than this.

Incidentally, one-way systems are not archaic in Outer London, because councils like Waltham Forest are building more and more of them. Even when it involves roads previously identified as part of the London Cycle Network.

And now for something completely different - some snaps of the Agar Grove entrance to a prize-winning permeability route.

I am sorry to say that someone spoiled my pics by cycling past at the time. On the pavement. As if he didn’t feel that Agar Grove was a safe road to cycle on. Naughty, naughty, naughty… (More shocking photographs of pavement cyclists here)

action against Blue Badge misuse in Waltham Forest: nil

The Audit Commission recently rapped Waltham Forest Council over the knuckles for turning a blind eye to various types of fraud:

HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds could have been lost as a result of the council’s poor performance in tackling fraud, according to a watchdog.

No cases of fraud relating to the use of ‘blue badge’ parking permits were uncovered in 2009 and 2010, despite a neighbouring borough reporting 172 cases with a value of £86,000. The badges change hands for up to £500 on the black market.

As far as I’m aware, Waltham Forest Council has never prosecuted anyone for misuse of a blue badge, which is presumably why local streets are full of apparently able-bodied young men in BMWs displaying blue badges, along with a wide range of other probable offenders like traders who spring out of vans and lorries displaying blue badges and then proceed to carry heavy materiel.

I used the Freedom of Information Act to ask the Metropolitan Police what enforcement it had done in Waltham Forest for the past three years. I’ve now had the answer.

2008 - 38 Fixed Penalty Notices issued for mis-use of a disabled blue badge (Offence Code 600)

2009 - None

2010 – None

I think those statistics may reflect the change in Borough Commander. The current Commander apparently doesn’t believe that blue badge misuse is worth bothering with.

So for the past two years, motorists criminally misusing blue badges have been able to drive around Waltham Forest without running the slightest risk that any action will be taken against them by the only two agencies empowered to act – the council and the police.

Remarkably, no one in the borough seems troubled by this state of affairs. You’d think disability groups and organisations would be screaming their heads off, but they don’t seem to be.

Thought For The Day

It is not that we do not have the space for infrastructure; we do not have the will.

The importance of conspicuity

SHOPPERS in Darlington were mystified by the appearance of a semi-naked woman riding a bike through the town centre.

The modern-day Lady Godiva was spotted at lunchtime today freewheeling down Priestgate.

The woman was wearing only a T-shirt and was naked from the waist down.
She was standing up on her pedals and was heard to be shouting I'm invisible as she rode past.

All cyclists are by definition invisible, especially in today’s busy modern world where so many drivers have important text messages to send or read. Even the most skilled multi-tasking motorist cannot occasionally avoid colliding with a cyclist, especially with those criminally irresponsible cyclists who foolishly and dangerously wear dark clothing.

This is why cyclists should make every effort to make themselves conspicuous at all times. This London cyclist (below) demonstrates a key aspect of Cyclecraft which is all too commonly neglected by conventional cycling campaigners – the importance of wearing high viz gear and no knickers.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Location, location

Where are the nicest cycle stands in the London Borough of Waltham Forest?

In this blog’s opinion – and if we discount the ones which council officers have built for themselves in bike sheds from which we residents are excluded (that’s a story for another day) – they are surely these three stands on Pretoria Avenue, by Stoneydown Park

This park, incidentally, contains the first permanent speakers’ corner in London for nearly 150 years.

These are the only bike stands I know of in the borough which incorporate a sign explaining that they are for parking bicycles (and not, say, small climbing frames for children).

These three stands are justly celebrated on the very last page of this document. Where they are shown empty. Which is how they are – always.

Although I cycle along Pretoria Avenue very regularly I have never, ever, seen anyone using these bike stands (and I bet The Archipelago hasn’t either).

This may be because they are not adjacent to anything but the park railings. And this defunct and padlocked park entrance, which was probably last used during the Second World War.

These three stands aren’t even by the nearest shop, which is further up the road. It’s a newsagents. And when you are near a park it’s always good to catch up with the local youth culture.

Britain to save planet from catastrophe!

Thrilling news. The government has just placed Britain

at the forefront of the global battle against climate change.

The new budget puts the government on target to meet a reduction by 2050 of 80% of carbon emissions compared with 1990 levels. The committee has said that to reach this carbon emissions should be cut by 60% by 2030.

It’s always good to set a target nineteen years in the future. Excitingly, 2030 is just four years after London will have achieved its dazzling cycling target of five per cent modal share, which will have been accomplished almost entirely by strips of blue paint and some rented bicycles.

Yes, things are looking up. As proof of the government’s commitment to walking no less than £371 million has just been spent giving some lucky pedestrians in Surrey a grand day out.

And the good news is you won’t have to give up your car. When Daily Mail readers are rounded up by the vicious Green Police, bear in mind that you can effortlessly escape this kind of persecution by using ‘clean diesel’.

York cycling news

A CYCLIST who has had to sign off work after being thrown from his bike in York has appealed for witnesses to the accident to come forward.

One reader comments:

I'm not at all surprised this happened. I call this mini roundabout the Circle of Death.

I used to cycle it daily and without fail someone would pull out in front of me or, worse, cut me up by turning left while I'm going straight on. Not to mention NOBODY indicates there. I was hit by a car there once, it wasn't my fault - I was on the roundabout first and the car tried to pass me and did exactly what Paul describes. The driver leapt out of his car to check if there was damage to his car and if so I was "gonna be a dead man".

Horrible horrible dangerous awful piece of road best avoided on a bike

But that can’t be true. York is a very safe place to cycle. This isn’t just an opinion, this is a scientific fact.

York, the authority where cycling to work is most common, is, by our calculation, the safest place in England to cycle.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cyclist hit by lorry on A3 in Clapham

After some confusion, it now appears that a cyclist WAS hit by a lorry this morning on the A3 in Clapham. The crash seems to have happened in this vicinity.

An 18-year-old cyclist was rushed to hospital following a collision with a lorry.

A spokeswoman for the London Ambulance Service said: "We were called at 11.30am to reports of a road traffic collision involving a cyclist and a lorry in Clapham High Street.

"We sent two single responders in cars and an ambulance crew. Staff treated an 18-year-old man. He was taken as a priority to King's College Hospital with leg injuries."

The spokeswoman said the teenager was "conscious and breathing" when treated by paramedics.

Cann Hall Road: the fraud of the ‘Green Olympics’ legacy

As part of the Council’s ongoing regeneration effort to ensure that Waltham Forest “gets more from the Games”, funding has been secured for improvements in Cann Hall Road and Crownfield Road.

The scheme will significantly contribute to development of improving the pedestrian and cycle links to the Olympic Park, which will assist in the objective to host the first ‘public transport’ Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The works will be funded entirely by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). This funding has been specifically designated for improvements in this location of the Northern Olympic Fringe.

And this is what Northern Olympic Fringe funding has done to Cann Hall Road, all the way along it, on both sides, even by a school and a local park. This is car-dependency gone completely mad, profoundly hostile to walking and cycling, and dehumanising a neighbourhood to an extraordinary degree. If you want evidence that the supposed environmental benefits of London’s Olympic Games are bogus, look no further than Cann Hall Road E11.

Cann Hall Road E11 is a road which offers a direct route to the Olympic site from Wanstead Flats, the location of a supposed Olympic ‘Greenway’ for cyclists and pedestrians. Waltham Forest Council has obtained funding and spent £1,513,790 on so-called ‘improvements’ to Cann Hall Road and its continuation, Crownfield Road. The ‘improvements’ are the same on both roads.

In a nutshell, what Waltham Forest Council has done is

(i) widen the footways and convert them into free parking bays, which on Cann Hall Road results in widths of a metre and sometimes less, well below the national guidelines for meeting the needs of pedestrians and those with a mobility handicap. Pedestrians are now left with a narrow corridor along which it is impossible to walk side by sided with another person.
(ii) these roads have been narrowed, making them even more dangerous and unattractive for cycling on than they were before. To avoid ‘dooring’ you need to take primary position; very few cyclists will have the courage to do this on these roads.
(iii) the removal of existing chicanes has resulted in a noticeable rise in vehicle speeds, with some drivers plainly going in excess of 30 mph.

Both these roads are in areas of high deprivation, with the probability that around half or more of the households on these streets don’t own a motor vehicle.

This is how Waltham Forest Council originally dressed up this poisonously car-centric restructuring of these streets. The scheme promised

wider footways


the provision of an attractive walking and cycling route to the Olympic Park.

(Below) new ‘improved’ car-choked cycling-hostile Cann Hall Road

The scheme also promised

Better connectivity by providing easy accessibility and an uncluttered street scene.


Increased wellbeing and resident satisfaction from a high quality public realm.

as well as

Tackling climate change and enhancing sustainability

What’s more

Disabled people especially those with mobility problems or restricted vision and their carers also have particular requirements when navigating the public realm and these have been fully considered at the design stage.

Technical advice and guidance was taken from the Council’s Access Officer at all stages of the design to ensure that the known needs of disabled people with a range of disabilities or impairments was taken into account and to ensure that no specific groups would be adversely affected by the proposals.

I have no idea who the Council’s Access Officer is but I am baffled how they can support proposals like these, which are deeply hostile to the needs and interests of blind pedestrians, wheelchair users and others with special mobility needs.

“The provision of wider footways will also aid to reduce the fear of crime by removing possible conflicts between people in narrow areas.”

Like here for example:

Of all the weasel justifications for handing over footways for unlimited free car parking, this takes some beating:

“The provision of parking areas at footway level will improve vehicular access for disabled people.”

(Below) Even those households with off-street parking get a parking bay, in order to encourage multiple vehicle ownership.

Finally, take a look at the photos on p. 14 here and compare them with my photos, taken on 8th May.

The real reason for this insane scheme is hidden away in this sentence:

These measures will provide extended footways when the bays are not being used and protect cars when parked in the recessed bays.

Protecting cars – the Grey Fleet planners of the London Borough of Waltham Forest take that very, very seriously indeed.

Bournemouth twinned with Waltham Forest

Though to be fair to Bournemouth, Waltham Forest has nothing as fabulous as this.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Cycling permeability in Newham

That’s Anna Neagle, who seems to have been something of a superstar in the mid-twentieth-century.

Neagle's last box-office hit was My Teenage Daughter (1956), which featured her as a mother trying to prevent her daughter (Sylvia Syms) from lapsing into juvenile delinquency.

And this (below) is Anna Neagle Close in the London Borough of Newham. My guess is that it is so-named because she was born on this site in a now-demolished house. The neighbourhood has the generic name of Forest Gate. I was startled to discover that it was in Forest Gate that Jimi Hendrix wrote Purple Haze. It now becomes perfectly obvious that this song is not about drugs but about exhaust emissions in North East London.

On a bike you can enjoy a convenient short cut through Anna Neagle Close, between the B161 (Dames Road) and the A114 (Woodford Road), avoiding the lights at the junction further down. This traffic-free cul de sac makes for ideal cycling permeability. Or it would do if Newham Council could be bothered to slot in a short cycle path between the road closure. This is the view from the other end of Bective Road E7, looking back to Anna Neagle Close. It appears that it was a very long time ago that any munching was done in the vicinity of Rose's Munches. The tyres of this mobile eaterie are flat and it has a derelict ambiance.

But I expect if you asked for a spot of cycling permeability here, Newham Council would refuse it. The Council doesn’t seem to like cyclists.

Newham Watersmeet Woodcraft Folk young people protested outside the Olympic Park on Saturday 19th March to bring attention to the poor cycling facilities in the borough.

The young people had cycled the short distance from Forest Gate to the edge of the Olympic Park. With no adequate cycling routes the young people had to navigate their way through very congested traffic. They were only able to do this with the support of a group of adult Woodcraft leaders.

Earlier in the week, the group had been refused previously granted permission to address Newham Council Cabinet about the lack of safe cycling facilities for young people. Jasmine Forbes of the group said: “ We were prepared to speak to the cabinet of Newham Council and were very disappointed when at the last minute the Mayor, Sir Robin Wales refused us permission. We wanted to ask why the Cycle Superhighway was not allowed into Newham”.

Suzannah Walker, chair of Newham Woodcraft added: “we will have a multi-million pound velodrome but no safe way of cycling there”.

The London Borough of Newham is the kind of place that makes The Grumpy Cyclist very grumpy indeed.

Bike hire revelation

A TfL spokeswoman said: "We find that the busiest docking stations are around Hyde Park, where people can hire a bike and tour the park."

Away from all that horrible traffic…

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Blogger Outage Outrage

Here’s what happened: during scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night, we experienced some data corruption that impacted Blogger’s behavior. Since then, bloggers and readers may have experienced a variety of anomalies including intermittent outages, disappearing posts, and arriving at unintended blogs or error pages. A small subset of Blogger users (we estimate 0.16%) may have encountered additional problems specific to their accounts.

Which sounds tiny, yet Blogger boasts that it has “millions of active blogs”.

Crap Cycling & Walking in Waltham Forest seems to have had the misfortune of being among that “small subset of Blogger users”. The pages of the Blogger Help forum are crammed with zillions of angry and frustrated bloggers, whose problems are familiar. For example:

When logging into my account someone else's blog is featured under my account. Has my account been hacked? How can I get it removed?

Problems specific to Crap Cycling include denial of blogger profile, denial the blog exists, attributing the blog posts to other bloggers/individuals, giving access to other people's blogs (and I suspect giving other bloggers access to this one), inserting a post from another blog, arbitrarily changing the password, and ALL KINDS OF WEIRD SHIT. Fortunately no malicious hacking seems to have been involved; just a comprehensive Blogger screw-up, accompanied by smiley-smiley messages that everything would get better soon.

As one blogger poster on the forum remarked

At the very least frequent updates would be professional. I understand maintenance issues; however, there clearly seems to be an underlying, deeper internal issue seeing as how communication has been almost nil & vague at best, and this severe problem has lasted an unreasonable amount of time.

And someone else wrote

They have unfortunately now coupled a technical issue with a PR issue. In this day and age it seems silly to me that a company of this stature (especially one whose existence is primarily to provide forms of COMMUNICATION) would address a problem like this with such disregard to its loyal customers/users. I've only been a Blogger user for 6 months and have always heard that it was at the bottom of the pack when it came to blog hosting sites. Maybe this is why.

Late Footnote

To those readers who spotted a recipe for paella appearing on Crap Cycling, this was thanks to Blogger generously overlapping this site with those of other bloggers. Somewhere in the great blogosphere I expect there’s a cookery site which offered its readers the unexpected main dish of roast Waltham Forest Council on a bed of diced Transport for London, in a rich peppery sauce.